Beautiful and Chilling
“Savage Grace” is based on the true story of Barbara Daly, a woman who married above her social class to Brooks Baekeland, the man who was heir to the Bakelite empire of plastic. She was beautiful and determined and many considered her to be hotheaded. She was no match for her husband. The couple had one son, Tony, who lived to the extreme and put his parent’s marriage at risk. He was gay and his father considered him a failure so he naturally gravitated to his mother who was lonely in her own way. The coming together of mother and son laid the seeds for tragedy. The film covers the years from 1946-1972 and shows how the Baekeland’s quest for social acceptance, distinction and the “good life” takes them all over the world and we watch them rise and fall.
The wonderful Christine Vachon produced this film and her aesthecism shines throughout. Julianne Moore as Barbara gives a fine performance (as she always does) but she did not inhabit the role as she has done in other films.
Because this is a true story, there is intrigue here and as I watched, I could not help but care about the characters. The film engages the viewer even though the film is bizarre to a degree. The film is quite frank in ways American film are usually not. The problem I found us there is no complete story and much seems to be missing. The fact that what happened in the film actually happened makes it a disturbing movie to watch.
Tony, the son, discovers his homosexuality at a young age and he is intent upon loosing his connection to his father who is cold and dark from the beginning of the film. The costumes and hair styles are wonderful and the cinematography is beautiful to watch.
While this review is not a rave, I must say that, even with the faults, I absolutely love this film and it is the one I watch when I have nothing else. Each time I watch it, it becomes better and better and hey, Julianne Moor is here with a very hot young man.